Friday, February 17, 2017

The Street Kids, by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Staff review by Chris Saliba

Italian poet and film-maker Pier Paolo Pasolini dazzles with his first novel.

In 1955, Italian film maker, poet and intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini published his first novel, The Street Kids. Controversial for its gritty, unvarnished portrayal of an urban underclass of boys who lived by their wits on petty crime, it was censored, criticised and condemned by critics and the public alike. Now recognised as a classic, The Street Kids has been given a brand new translation by Anne Goldstein, famous for her work as translator of the Elena Ferrante novels.

Set during the mid forties to early fifties, the novel tells the story of Riccetto, a teenage boy, and the loose gang of street urchins he hangs out with on the outskirts of Rome. This constantly changing group of boys do whatever they must to survive on the street, whether it be quick-witted con jobs or petty thievery. The boys often experience hard times and several of them come to tragic ends.

Remarkable for it raw vitality, exuberance and street-wise dialogue, The Street Kids paints a striking portrait of a teeming city and its subterranean culture. Every page is written with great urgency as Pasolini strives to capture an underclass of outlaw boys who lived and died by their own rules.

The Street Kids, by  Pier Paolo Pasolini. Published by Europa Editions. ISBN: 9781609453084 RRP: $29.99